Today, February 28, my class of AP bio rockstars and I attended a field trip to the Palo Alto bay lands with Save the Bay! For this field trip we collected data of the biodiversity of the plants, and the soil’s salinity, texture, pH and moisture within a 1m x 1m quadrant. To calculate the biodiversity we used Simpson’s biodiversity index and calculated the number of species within a quadrant and how many individuals of that species were in that area. From that we could calculate and compare the percent of biodiversity in each area, each ranging in distance from the water. After we collected the rest of the data, using the awesome tools they provided us with, we were able to graph this data with all the data of the 5 areas and compared our graphs with the two other groups from our class. This data Save the Bay uses to send to the state to get grants to fund the area and it also helps them to monitor the marsh.
Three things I learned on this field trip was that there is an equation to calculate biodiversity! I guess this is easier with plants than animals but still its pretty interesting to give a quantitative quality to a qualitative observation. Another was that there are different types of tests to measure the texture of soil including plain touch, the ball test and the ribbon test, all giving observers different descriptions of the soil. I also had not known before that the marshes have been rapidly decreasing over the past 200 years due to landfills, salt marshes or human habitation. Now I know what those large, colored patches are by SFO!
In class we have been learning about evolution. Although marshes are not directly related to evolution, there is proof of evolution in the plants we saw today! Different plants adapt to certain climates they are in and differ depending on how close they are to water, the type of soil, how much access they have to the sun, etc. All the plants have and and currently adapting to the area they inhabit today. Also in evolution we have learned about the different factors that affect allele frequency, essentially the biodiversity of a population. Today we calculated the biodiversity of areas in a marsh and in class we have learned about causes of biodiversity. Pretty cool stuff!
I really enjoyed this trip and loved seeing how passionate the workers are. They really love what they do and although we were in the dirt digging, it was nice knowing that we were helping the environment. It also helped that there were cute dogs running by too hehe :). Overall 10/10 recommend it was super fun but I recommend that you dress in layers because it gets quite brisk. It’s fun applying the science we learn in class to the science in the real world, the science that affects our world every day.
I have created a diary of some footage I took at our field trip today and thought it would be fun to put snapchat filters on them for some originality. Hope you enjoy! (look below)